Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Menominee, Oneida, Portage, Taylor,
Vilas, Waupaca, and Wood counties.
Selected headlines from the
November 11th edition of THE BUSINESS NEWS
100 years of change
Employee incentives, technology enable Merrill Distributing to
meet customer needs
By Lori Kaye Lodes
Family-owned companies don’t often get to celebrate 100 years in
business without doing a few things right. For Merrill
Distributing, one key ingredient has been listening to customer
With 39 years in the family business, John Schewe, Merrill
Distributing president and CEO, has seen the company evolve from
candy maker to a single source for food and convenience store
products. Along the way, the company has learned to embrace
technology and become a partner in its customers’ success.
Founded by Adam Schewe in 1912 as Merrill Candy Co., the company
brokered products throughout the Midwest. A wholesale division
was added when customers began asking for tobacco, toilet paper
and dish soap along with candy products. Manufacturing was
disbanded in 1964 as the company focused on being a wholesale
distribution channel for drug stores, groceries and night clubs.
In 1988, the company added food products to its assortment of
goods — no small feat, given the multi-temperature needs of the
A neighborhood tradition
Personal touch maintains Wausau grocery’s legacy of service
By Jerry Rhoden
The neighborhood grocer enjoys a storied place in the
sepia-toned annals of Americana. Those who can envision such a
Rockwellian portrait will see a fitting display just inside the
entryway to Kohlman’s and Lee’s Groceries at 735 S. Third Ave.
in Wausau. That’s where one will find a print of The Dugout,
Norman Rockwell’s iconic Saturday Evening Post cover from Sept.
4, 1948, featuring an autograph by Johnny Schmitz on the cover,
the Wausau native pitcher for the Chicago Cubs that year.
It’s one more local touch that has helped Lee Her and her
husband and business partner Pao Lee maintain the legacy of the
stalwart store in the near-westside Wausau community.
Lee Her began working for Kohlman’s IGA as a teenager in 1995.
She bought into a partnership with Bill Kohlman in 2004 as
Kohlman, who opened the store in 1975, began eyeing retirement.
“There was a business here already that was going out of
business,” Lee said, adding that she and Kohlman were at very
different life stages when they embarked on their respective
ventures. “He bought it out. He was 46 at the time, and I was 26
when I became a partner. So, that was a lot different
People who make a difference
Bernett helps blaze trail for interactive learning in Marathon
Whether she’s installing signs for a children’s area at Marathon
Elementary School or volunteering at the Career Closet, Laura
Bernett enjoys helping out with United Way projects. Bernett,
human resource specialist at Greenheck Fan Corp. in Schofield,
has been an active member of United Way of Marathon County since
joining the organization in May of 2011 and is part of its
Emerging Leaders program. Greenheck Fan is a program sponsor for
Emerging Leaders, which is made up of young professionals who
network, volunteer in various ways, and get involved with
leadership opportunities in the community.
Bernett serves on the United Way Volunteer Committee and enjoys
volunteering at the Career Closet, Brat Fry and for Make a
Difference Day, to name a few.
Young’s path to success has taken a few turns along the way
By Lori Kaye Lodes
Forrest Young’s first attempt at college and a degree in
engineering didn’t pan out. Thank goodness as Young’s
unconventional journey to pharmacy school, gusty perseverance,
dedicated customer service and divine intervention led to the
creation of Badger Pharmacy LLC, rebranded in September as
Young’s Drug Store.
Young, 42, credits his grandfather for guiding him down the
sometimes difficult path to a career in pharmacy. Edward Young
established the first Young’s Drug Store in 1933 on Wausau’s
west side. Retiring in 1958, he sold the business to Gus Lang,
which later became Lonsdorf’s North Side Pharmacy on the corner
of North Sixth Street and Chicago Avenue and eventually Jackson
Pharmacy and Gifts upon its sale to Jack Jackson.
In 2002, Forrest and his brother purchased the business,
renaming it Young’s Drug Store.
Area hospitals with most beds
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